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Charlie McCann on Royal Ascot
4:41pm Friday 20th June 2014 in Sport
Berkshire’s win in Saturday’s opener The Chesham Stakes proved to be some of the strongest two-year-old form of last season, beating the trio of Bunker, Ihtimal and Somewhat in impressive fashion.
Paul Cole’s colt won despite entering the race still a maiden and Michael Halford’s Toscanini (2.30) arrives today likewise, having ran twice in his native Ireland, but can make it third time lucky in this year’s renewal.
The Shamardal colt finished third on debut behind Aidan O’Brien’s likely favourite Dick Whittington and subsequent Coventry Stakes runner-up Cappella Sansvero, building on that further when splitting the smart pair of Kool Kompany and War Envoy in the Rochestown Stakes at Naas; both of whom far from disgraced in the Coventry Stakes on Tuesday.
The colt can go even closer to shedding the maiden tag, likely to thrive on the better ground and is expected to suit the step up in trip.
Sir Michael Stoute and Ryan Moore teamed up to win the Duke of Edinburgh Stakes last year with Opinion and Arab Spring (3.05) can land the trainer his fifth success in the race, since its addition to the Royal meeting in 1999.
The stable are flying after Integral’s success in the Duke of Cambridge Stakes and Cannock Chase’s excellent win in the Tercentary Stakes; both well-backed and both justifying favouritism. Arab Spring has a very similar profile to the latter, progressing well to win handicaps at Doncaster and York and despite a 19lb increase at the weights is very much the cliché ‘group horse in a handicap’. The Monsun colt is evidently the best horse in the race and should be able to concede weight all round to win and win well.
Stoute is double-handed in the G2 Hardwicke Stakes with Ryan Moore opting to ride Telescope (3.45) over last year’s King Edward VII winner Hillstar.
Both hold excellent claims however preference lay with the former and although the Galileo colt has disappointed on both starts this term, remains unexposed and ultimately well-fancied from the yard.
Telescope has twice chased home Noble Mission this season, both on soft ground, in a pair of G3’s at Sandown and Chester respectively. That form looks strong with Lady Cecil’s half-brother to Frankel going onto win the G1 Tattersalls Gold Cup at the Curragh and back up in trip to a mile and a half, on rattling quick ground, should see him return to winning ways with the stable in excellent form.
Another stable in rude health is Eddie Lynam’s, successful with both Sole Power and Anthem Alexander earlier in the week and Slade Power (4.35) taken to land the hat-trick in the Diamond Jubilee. The colt looked better than ever on his return when beating Maarek on less than ideal soft ground at the Curragh, and should take all beating.
Roger Varian’s Aljamaaheer is a very interesting contender with blinkers on for the first time and he looks the most obvious danger, the five-year-old making a pleasing reappearance behind Es Que Love and Hamza last month at Newmarket.
If Varian comes up short with Aljamaaheer then he should be able to make amends with Rocky Ground (5.00) in the Wokingham and BetVictor are paying five places on the six furlong cavalry charge with 30 runners going to post.
The son of Acclamation made his seasonal return in the Palace House Stakes, chasing home subsequent Kings Stand Stakes winner Sole Power and built on the run to win on his next start at Windsor, showing an electric turn of foot to win a warm listed contest.
Providing he turns up in a similar mood, he looks excellent value around the 12/1 mark.
For punters looking to get out of trouble in the lucky last, the Queen Alexandra Stakes has an excellent tradition of being won by National Hunt trainers and Alan King’s Tiger Cliff (5.35) can land the spoils, after two excellent runs in group company at York and Sandown.
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